Sog.: dall’omonimo romanzo di Pierre Véry. Scen.: Pierre Véry. F.: Jean Bourgoin. M.: Marguerite Renoir. Scgf.: Pierre Marquet. Mus.: Jean Alfaro. Int.: Fernand Ledoux (Goupi Mains rouges), Georges Rollin (Goupi Monsieur), Blanchette Brunoy (Goupi Muguet), Robert Le Vigan (Goupi Tonkin), René Génin (Goupi Dicton), Line Noro (Marie des Goupi), Arthur Devère (Goupi Mes Sous), Germaine Kerjean (Goupi Tisane), Maurice Schutz (Goupi l’Empereur), Marcel Pérès (Eusèbe), Albert Rémy (Jean des Goupi). Prod.: Minerva. DCP. D.: 104’. Bn.
Georges Rollin, who had appeared in Dernier atout, entrusted Becker with the adaptation of Pierre Véry’s novel. Conscious of the need for authentic settings, the director wanted to shoot on a farm in the Charente, rather than in or near Paris. He judged Pierre Montazel’s cinematography as too elegant and substituted him with Jean Bourgoin, whom he had met during the shooting of Renoir’s La Marseillaise (Montazel would return for Grisbi). The shoot was marked by discussions between the crew, who were left-wing or communist sympathisers, and Robert Le Vigan, who was a friend of Céline and a collaborationist. In the film Le Vigan, “crazed and at the height of his powers” (Jacques Lourcelles), played Tonkin, the mad colonialist returned from Indochina.
[Becker] abandons the fantastic poetry so dear to Pierre Véry, or rather retains it only in the opening sequences sketching out the locations and in the descriptions of Goupi Mains rouges, the clan’s poacher, which run throughout the film. For the rest of the story, his gaze is that of an ironic observer, dispassionately describing the passions, manias, peculiarities and strange humanity of his characters. Then, when the time comes, this subtle irony gives way to a sense of tragedy that transforms these picturesque figures into truly obsessed characters, victims of their destiny and the deteriorating course of events.
Jacques Lourcelles, Dictionnaire du cinéma. Les films, Robert Laffont, Paris 1992